Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Model Primary School Menteng 01

Living overseas during an election year has been interesting to say the least. Rather than endless campaign commercials, we get to listen to what the rest of the world thinks of the candidates. I have very deliberately NOT mentioned politics here on the blog. This blog was begun as a way to keep in touch with family and friends back home when we moved overseas. Today I am going to mention Obama. This is not an endorsement, in fact I sat on this post until the election was over.  I would have posted it no matter who won. Here is that post:

It is no secret I lived in Jakarta Indonesia for two years. One of the things I had a chance to do was tour the school Obama attended as a child. Just to make it clear I did not set out to see the school, I was on a tour of the Menteng area looking at historic sites and the Dutch influenced architecture. We passed by the school and stopped to snap pictures of the sign out front.

Hopefully someone fixes that hanging P soon. Anyway the guard noticed a rather large group of bule (white people) peering through the gate and came over to see what was up. One thing led to another and pretty soon we got the grand tour. The school is much like any other elementary school. It has classrooms, playgrounds, and bulletin boards displaying children's work. It is really not very different a school in the states.

I had pretty much forgotten about that little tour until I heard something on NPR in mid October that reminded me and made me laugh. NPR interviewed some people from Jakarta about Obama and the upcoming elections. One of the men interviewed was a guard named Adang who works at the school. I don't know if is the same gentleman we met, but it is nice to think so. Anyway Bapak Adang says he wants Obama to win next month simply because he's an alumnus. "It would be good for the school's image", he says, "to be able to say that the president of the U.S. studied here, too."  That struck me as funny and along the same lines as "Washington slept here." You know, "Obama studied here."

One of the interesting things I saw at the school were these signs hanging in the halls. Each sign had a different inspirational saying but this is my favorite. Sometimes we forget to teach our kids that it is OK to be wrong sometimes, after all no one is right ALL the time. Oh, in case you are wondering, all Indonesian school children are required to take English. That isn't to say they are all fluent. Judging from the number of "Hello, Misses" I got on the street, most achieve the same level of fluency that I did from my spanish classes. That is I can say hello and ask the time, but that's about it! Oh Well.

Take a few minutes to listen to the interview. It is interesting to think of how others view us.

1 comment:

The Right Blue said...

Very interesting, Shannon. Thanks for posting the photos, and the NPR clip.

Maybe I have a bias because I, too, have spent a lot of years living away from the U.S., and because my kids were partly raised overseas, but I also believe that Obama's multicultural experiences while growing up will serve him well now.